By Shermain Bique-Charles
Safety of workers in the construction sector will be a focal point as the country prepares to mark World Day for Safety and Health at Work on Wednesday.
The annual event observed on April 28 promotes the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally.
It is also an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on the magnitude of the problem, and on how promoting and creating a safety and health-conscious culture can help reduce the number of work-related deaths and injuries.
And in commemoration of the day, local labour inspectors and other members of staff will join the International Labour Organization (ILO) for a special forum focused on occupational safety and health in the construction sector.
“We consider that the construction industry, though it is an important economic driver of the economy, is one of the most dangerous areas to work.
“In this regard, efforts to reduce the number of workplace injuries in the sector continue to occupy the department’s attention,” a statement from the Labour Commissioner’s office read yesterday.
This year finds the country on an experiential plateau, following many rapid adjustments to the unexpected effects of the global pandemic on the world of work, the statement pointed out.
“Many of us would recall that just over a year ago, when Antigua and Barbuda went into lockdown, all eyes were on the health aspect of the pandemic. However, as time progressed and livelihoods were negatively affected, the workplace came into sharp focus,” it continued.
Those fortunate enough to still have a job became concerned about their safety at work and, by extension, that of those around them.
“Some persons wished they could have more time at home, given that homeschooling had become the norm, however, those who were able to work from home realised that this mode of work also had its challenges,” the statement added.
This year’s theme for the annual observance is ‘Anticipate, prepare and respond to crises – invest now in resilient occupational safety and health systems’.